The phoenix is a mythical bird which is immortal and rises out of the ashes of destruction. It is the archetypal symbol for rebirth. One of the themes of the book, captured in the quotation in the introduction by George Bernard Shaw, is that every man is free to create himself as he wants to be. This is the first of a suite of references to birth, eggs, umbilical cords, Pentecostal winds and renaissance, most fully realised in the leitmotif of Frankenstein, which reoccur in the book. (See also the bookmarks for pages 18, 181, 233 and 247).